Best Christmas gifts for kids with special needs- what to give and get the biggest hug!

Christmas is just around the corner.

I remember when I was a kid, I would always wait expectantly for Christmas day because this was the time when  I would go to my godparents’ house, hug them  and ask their blessing, then  I would get a full plastic bag of goodies in return.

Life was simpler then and we lived in a very small town where neighbors chat with each other outside their homes and practically we knew everyone in the neighborhood or maybe even the whole town.

My mom knew how to sew so I and my sister would happily wear our Christmas dresses which looked alike. We felt like we were twin dolls lol!

Best Christmas gifts for kids with special needs

When I was in university, I would start buying simple gifts for my younger siblings as early as October. We would open our gifts on Christmas day after lunch before heading to my aunt’s place for the party, where the kids got more gifts. Chocolates or other treats were favorites, more than clothes or money

How about you? Have you started your Christmas shopping this year?

I sure have.

So what are you planning to buy or add more if you have purchased some already?

I did some research and compiled this list for the best Christmas gifts for kids with special needs and for sure when they get these, they will jump with joy and you will get the biggest hug ever.

Don’t forget to click the images to see the price of the toys that you want to buy.

Here we go!

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Educational toys

More than enjoying playing with toys, our kids with special needs, especially if they are non-verbal, would squeak with delight the first time that they open a toy and find it talking or emitting sounds or giving out beautiful lights.

Like this baby hammer toy that triggers light and sound when pounded.

Baby hammer toy that will amuse your kid with the sound when pounded

Or this interactive toy school bus with flashing lights and sounds.

Toy train with flashing lights and sounds

Be sure to buy also toys that are educational, so their creative minds will be enhanced, as well, communication skills will be developed.

This dinosaur wooden puzzle will teach your child the alphabet, as well develop his fine motor skills and imagination.

Dinosaur wooden puzzle for fine motor skills and learning the alphabet

The theraputty will enhance your special kids’ fine motor skills and creativity.

Theraputty to enhance fine motor skills and creativity

Christmas is the best time of the year

Books

I love giving books as gifts to my nephews and nieces. I believe that books are the best gifts if you want the kids to enjoy reading as they grow up.

Reading to your special child is a very good bonding time as well, next to playing with them.

Before going to sleep, when you lie side by side in bed, reading to them their favorite book not only will allow them to develop communication skills, but their imagination as well.

Even if they are non-verbal, I’m sure they are able to understand in their own little way what you are reading to them especially if you make your reading more enjoyable by acting out the story, like voicing out animals’ sounds for example.

First word books or alphabet books like these are very educational and be sure to buy books showing beautiful pictures, as well to catch the interest of your kid.

ABC book to improve ypur kid's vocabulary and enhance communication skills         First 100 words to add to your kid's vocabulary     First 100 animals will delight your kids and learn about animals around them

 

 

 

Story books, likewise would be one of the best gifts. Choose books that impart moral values about love of God and family. Likewise the values of respect, sharing , and empathy.

These story books will surely give delight to your little ones.

Bedtime stories to enhance your kids' imagination

 

 

For older kids, these story books would be a hit.

Love You Forever is my most favorite kids’ book. It tells  a story of a mother’s love from birth to forever. It really touches a mom’s heart. It’s so beautiful! I will keep this book forever. I don’t mind reading it again and again.

Love you forever is a beautiful story of a mother's love

 

 

Photobooks

Collect their most beautiful photos from a recent holiday or his most memorable birthday and present to your special child in a beautiful photobook.

Even looking at photos from since they were a baby until now will make them have a wide smile and they will enjoy turning the pages as they recognize themselves in the photobook.

It is also a special album for the whole family to store your memories. Click the image below to see the price.

Photobooks to file your special kids memorable events
We have an advertising relationship with the stores or businesses we link in this post. We'll earn a commission when you shop through our links with no added cost to you. You are able to help special children, as well in Romblon, Philippines.

Musical instruments

It is proven that music therapy has lots of benefits for our children with special needs.

Let your special kid be jolly everyday by giving him something that he can play not only to let him enjoy but to improve his focus and communication skills.

Let music flow in your homes everyday. Even just one musical instrument that he loves and plays a lot will improve everyone’s mood around the house.

If your special girl loves to sing, this karaoke set is the best gift. You will enjoy hearing the angelic voice of your daughter even though her lyrics have some funny twists.

Karaoke set to develop the singing talent of your special girlThis drum set for small kids ( 15 months up )  will enhance their motor skills and help them focus and engage.

Drum set to hone musical skills and develop fine motor skills These harmonica are so easy to play, your special child just needs to blow through it and voila, there will be beautiful music that he can create. And he will enjoy doing it again and again.

This xylophone comes with two sheets of music ( Twinkle twinkle little star and Mary had a little lamb ) which an older kid can easily follow.

 

Writing and coloring  materials

Discover the creative imagination of your special kid by giving him materials that  he can use to draw, doodle, and create something that he can be proud of.

Give him lots of crayons and colored pencils with paper and just let your special child practice to grip the writing materials and encourage him to just draw those lines and circles and let him use all the colors for him to enjoy and develop his writing skills and creativity.

Show his works of art and put them in your fridge or the wall in his room.

Appreciate his works at all times!

For older kids who know how to properly grip crayons or colored pencils, this coloring book is a nice gift.

Coloring books to develop creativity and the love for art

These doodle pads are the right sizes for those small hands. They are also easy to bring during travel.

Doodle pads to develop kid's imagination and practice writing skillsThese large crayons with 16 colors to choose from will delight your special child and inspire him to doodle or  draw all the time.Crayons to inspire your special child to make works of artMommies, you will love these washable crayons because they’re easy to clean up even if your kids draw on your walls. How’s that?

Washable crayons for easy clean up

Shoes and Clothes

What is Christmas for kids without new shoes and clothes?

They usually want to show off their beautiful outfits when they go to church or go to their godparents and grandparents asking for their presents.

Shop here for new dresses and clothes.

Awesome clothes for Christmas!

Gymboree clothes to show off on Christmas

These girls’ sandals will fit nicely on their feet and will hold on even though they have mobility issues. I bet they can’t  wait for summer to use them. Might use them at home, lol!

 

 

 

This flashing sneaker will be a hit with your special child paired with an awesome shirt.

Flashing sneakers to amuse your special kidThese squeaky shoes for your little girl will amuse her as she walks.

Squeaky shoes for your baby toddler's cute feet Awesome shirts will make your kids’ Christmas more enjoyable! Check them out. The boys’ shirts  come in three colors- red, blue, and black.

Awesome shirts for boys

Harry potter’s girl’s shirt in burgundy.

Harry Potter girl's shirt Bags and backpacks

Some beautiful bags or backpacks to bring around at doctor or therapist visits to put your special kids’ toys and other essentials would be a nice gift idea as well.

Think of how the designs will give them joy.

This Lego Ninjago backpack set will be greatly appreciated by your little boy. I bet he will carry it around even if he’s just going to the park.

Lego Ninjago backpack to bring everywhere Your little girl will love carrying this unicorn kids’ backpack anywhere she goes. It comes with a lunch bag as well, which is very useful when going out to doctor’s visits or to school.

Unicorn girls backpack

This weighted huggy bear back pack will surely give comfort to your special one, being so huggable and soft. Click the image to see the price.

Huggy bear weighted backpack

Huggable toys

Toys that will calm their anxieties are those that they can hug, like this weighted teddy bear and the Plush Pickle. They will enjoy carrying them and showing to their playmates, as well.

 

 

When we think of gifts for Christmas, the kids are always the most excited.

They would even trade chocolates or toys with money. They usually love getting presents that give them enjoyment. Opening those boxes or bags give them lots of perk!

They even wake up really early on Christmas day to start opening their presents once their parents allow them.

Christmas gifts come in different sizes

As parents, we are also excited shopping for them, even small items for their Christmas stockings.

Their belief that Santa Claus is there to give them presents as long as they’re nice gives them more enthusiasm during the holidays.

Even our children with special needs feel the excitement, so start buying those memorable gifts for them.

Happy shopping!

Let us all enjoy Christmas with our families!

 

 

Do you recall the time when your special kid jumped with joy when he opened a Christmas present from you?

When is your most memorable Christmas with your little one? Did you have a gift that until now is still precious to him?

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Behavior therapy for Autism-from a registered therapist to your home

I luckily met another friend at Wealthy Affiliate who happily shares her experiences taking care of autistic and other special kids. She loves kids, that’s for sure.

Some people, including me, even considers her an angel for doing her job really well and with passion.

Meet Taylor, who offers behavior therapy for autism and other special kids, serving clients at the comfort of their homes.

You will surely love her just like how her clients and their families do.

Autistic kids benefit a lot when helped by a behavioral therapist

As a Registered Behavioral Therapist ( RBT ), please describe what you do.

“I have been an RBT for just over a year now. I work with children from as young as 3 to as old as 21, but the typical ages I see are between 3 and 15.

Most kids have an autism diagnosis, but some have Down syndrome or other types of intellectual disabilities. Almost all of these kids except the very young ones, attend special schools in the morning, or home-schooled, so I see them in the afternoon.

On a typical day, I start my session out by hanging out with my client to give them a bit of transition time. Then, I assist with things like daily living skills (e.g., getting dressed, brushing teeth, doing homework), skill acquisition (learning numbers, letters, colors, etc).


Each client has what we call a behavioral service plan that tells me the types of things I do with them.

Each child has goals that they are working towards, so I help them achieve those goals and take data on their progress.”

What motivated you to become an RBT?

“My inspiration to work with special needs kids came when I was a senior in college.

I was taking a class called Culture and Child Development and we did a unit on autism. I was immediately fascinated and drawn to the subject.”

What is your typical day like?

” On a typical day, I have anywhere from one to three sessions for 2 hours usually.

As a direct care provider working in homes, I have a small caseload. What I do during each session depends on the age and skill level of the child.

For my younger clients, I do a lot of playing to work on cooperation, turn-taking, and waiting. I also work on skill acquisition, compliance with demands, and behavior reduction.

What that all means is, I work on having the child do what is asked of them without acting out.

Often, what I ask of them is something they are not sure how to do, so I will teach them how to do what is asked while working on reducing the amount of refusal they put up.

For older, higher functioning children, I work on functional life skills because they have acquired their basic skills. So, I teach them how to do some basic chores and things that their parents need them to do.”

Do you have any struggles or big challenges on being an RBT?

When you work with the special needs population, you often see challenging behaviors like aggression or high intensity tantrums, and even meltdowns.

This requires me to be quick on my toes, in order to block any attempted aggression, while trying to redirect the child to something more functional.

For meltdowns, in which the child has no control, being a sensory over stimulation, it is important to pinpoint what is causing it and eliminate it. If you cannot figure it out, or it cannot be eliminated, it is important to bring the child to a quiet place with less stimulation to help them calm down.

I have never given up on a child but I have had to leave cases because of time conflicts and things like that, but we work really hard to deal with even the most extreme behaviors. They’re often the ones who need us the most, so we never turn away a child for having a behavior that’s too much. ”

 

Mushy Smushy Bean Bag Chairs for relaxation and sensory playSensaSoft™ Chair and Stool for relaxation and calming

How do you handle a very difficult child?

” Each child is different, so you need to figure out what works with them.

Some kids have a really hard time complying with demands, so I will only give very small, very quick demands. For example, I will stop a child from playing to have them tell me what 2 letters are and then they can return to playing.

This builds up a tolerance for demands without overwhelming them.

I also use a lot of timers to signal transitions.

Transitions are incredibly difficult for children in general, but more so for special needs children. So, when I need them to come tell me what those 2 letters are, I set a timer and tell them how long they have until they need to do their work. I give them a warning for each minute left.

Using a visual schedule is often very helpful. It takes away the air of mystery about what comes next. By using timers and visuals, the child knows what is coming and when they can expect it. “

How do you involve the parents in caring for their kids?

” With in-home work, the parents are very much involved.

A huge part of what I do is called parent training. I am there to help the parent build skills just as much as I am there to help the child.

My job is to make life easier for everyone, so I teach the parents how to do what I do so that it can be continued even when I’m not there.

Consistency is key. If the behavioral interventions that I work on are used by the parents as well, the child is much more likely to pick them up quickly and maintain them over time.”

How do you feel at the end of a work day?

” That depends entirely on how my sessions for the day went.

Some days,  I feel on top of the world because one of my clients finally was able to do something we’ve been working on for days or weeks.

Other days I get in my car and cry because a session was so difficult.

There are those days that, no matter what you do, the child is having a tantrum, throwing things at you, trying to hit you, and refuses to do anything you say, even if it’s something fun.

Those are the hard days, but the days that I get to see the progress and see that what I’m doing is working and is helping far outweigh the bad days, so I’m always ready to do it again the next day.

What makes you happy or fulfilled on a certain day?

” What makes me happiest is seeing a child make progress.

I have one client that has a speech delay, so she doesn’t say too much. We play a game called Zingo, which is like bingo but with pictures. Each day, I have her do her best to tell me what each picture is.

One day, she got the piece with an owl on it. All by herself she happily exclaimed, “owl!” it was one of the best moments of my career.

Seeing a child learn and grow makes every hard day fade into the distance.”

Make Photo Books For every occasion
Create a photobook of your child’s special occasions. Click the image to view the price.

Any advice on those who plan to pursue a career as a Registered Behavioral Therapist? 

Take every bad day with a grain of salt and forgive.

One of the hardest parts of my job is to turn around after a tantrum where you were hit and kicked and suddenly the child starts playing again, but you have to. He doesn’t mean to act out, they simply don’t know another way to express their anger or frustration.

It’s my job to teach them those skills, so with every tantrum, I know there is still work to be done.

I would also say, don’t give up. Things can get difficult at times and you will have really bad days, but always hold onto the good days, the days when you’ve helped change a life for the better. There’s no better feeling than that.”

How do you de-stress after a difficult day?

I have a lot of different things that I like to do.

I often come home and play with my cat and dog and watch some TV. On the days when I have a bit more energy, I love to build Lego (playing is great for the mind! Feel free to check out my article about playing to relieve stress) or color.

On weekends, I try to get out of the house as much as possible and move around as much as I can.”

There’s a point in our career that we realize we have made a difference in someone’s life, in your case a special child’s life. Please share with our readers.

I mentioned before about my client saying “owl” on her own for the first time, but something a bit more special was when she was first able to get my attention by speaking. It is a bit difficult for her to say my full name, so we decided that she would just call me T.

For the first few months she didn’t really show an interest getting my attention by calling my name, but the other day, as soon as I got out of my car she said, as clear as day, “look! T is here!” I wanted to cry, I was so happy.

For the rest of the session, anytime she wanted my attention she said, “T look!” I had been working for weeks to get her to use people’s names to get their attention and on that day it finally stuck.

She was using my name and her sister’s name, and she was also getting her mom’s attention by saying “mom look.”

Seeing the behavioral and verbal progress was just incredible. “

What is the best lesson that you learned from a special child/ children.

I have learned to be more relaxed and to forgive more easily.

Things don’t always go our way and while my kids do struggle with that and sometimes throw tantrums, they often bounce back and keep going.

I have also seen how quickly they are to forgive me when I don’t allow them to do something that they want. I can’t always give them what they want, when they want it, which can make them very upset, but a few minutes later, it’s like nothing happened.

They do a very good job of letting go and moving on, which is something we all need to be better at.

There’s no sense in holding onto things we can’t change.

Let go, move on, and keep being happy. “

Did I miss anything? Do you have something more important to share ?

” People always praise me and tell me what an angel I am for working with these kids. I don’t see it that way. I don’t think I’m special for doing what I do.

I do what I do because I love the kids and I love seeing them progress.

Not everyone can do what I do, but the same goes for any job. I’m not built for an office job. I couldn’t do it. I admire those people.

What I do is necessary, but I don’t think I’m any sort of special for doing it.

The kids are the ones to be admired. They’re the ones doing the hard work. “

 

The behavior technician helps kids and parents to make life easier.

 

WOW! What a very inspiring story of a very dedicated behavioral therapist. I can truly feel how Taylor loves her job and her kids. Her patience and forgiving nature is something so remarkable. She is like a mom and a teacher in a package.

BTW, Taylor is also a blogger, who writes about how to help children as well as adults cope with stress and frustration. Check out her awesome articles at https://brainbreather.com. You will enjoy reading them and will learn a lot.

 

Is your special needs child being taken cared of by a behavioral therapist? How is he coping? If not, do you consider looking for someone to help your child develop better skills to make his life as well as yours, easier?

 

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Raising a child with Down syndrome – our baby is our happy pill

I’m excited to introduce another extraordinary mom who cares for her child with special needs.

Her name is Emerald, a full time elementary school teacher for the last 12 years, who juggles her time between work and taking care of her family of 5. She is happily married to Jonathan, with whom she bore three kids- 18 year old Amber, 11 year old Jozsa, and Hailey, her special child.

Emerald did not want another baby after her second, but even though her pregnancy was unplanned, when she gave birth and found out that her baby was special, her motherly instinct brought her to act and soon she learned that raising a child with Down syndrome has its big struggles but soon discovered and realized that ” our baby is our happy pill,” and having her in their lives brought more meaning and joy to their family.

 

Caring for a Down syndrome child briings joy and fulfillment

 

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. There is no additional cost to you.

How old were you when you had your special child and how did you know that she was special?

” I was 36 years old when I gave birth to Hailey. She was like an accident/ unplanned pregnancy, I stopped taking pills because I had heart palpitations and I got pregnant! I had mixed feelings then, I was not ready for another child.

When Hailey was born, the attending physician already suspected that she was special because of her facial features.

We confirmed that she has Down syndrome when the result of her karyotype test came out on her third month.”

How did you and your family react to the news that she was special?

“The moment she was born, the doctor told us of her suspicion.

The rest of the day, I kept staring at her, afraid of what might happen.

My husband, who was away at that time, never learned of her condition because I was thinking it might affect his work. I waited for 3 months for him to finish his contract and that was the time when we brought Hailey to the city to confirm her condition.

Her two other sisters couldn’t really tell that time that she has Down syndrome because for us, she just looked normal.”

Describe your special child, including her health concerns and developmental milestones.

” At 2 years and 4 months, Hailey is our “happy pill. ” She always has a smile for everyone plus a big hug to offer.

Generally speaking her development is late, compared to kids her age. She started walking at 1 year and 8 months. Because she has poor muscle tone, her physical activities are limited. Despite this, she enjoys dancing, sometimes even without music while looking at herself in the mirror.

She is able to run as well, but we have to guide her because she just runs in any direction without thinking of her safety.

Hailey started eating solids when she was 6 months old, and at present she has a big appetite especially for pasta dishes.

She had a hole in her heart and she had a series of 2-D echocardiograms for monitoring until it closed at 1 year of age.

Hailey also has concerns with her thyroid hormones, thus she is being seen by an endocrinologist regularly.

She talks one word sentences like ” hello,” and able to point to food or cry if she is hungry.

Hailey used to have frequent cough and colds when she was less than a year old, but never had any serious illnesses. “

Your Down syndrome kids deserves the best clothes from Gymboree

Awesome clothes for your special child

Do you have struggles in taking care of your special child? How do you manage?

” Being a working mom, it has always been a struggle to care for
Hailey.

We have to hire nannies, but they give me stress because they
cannot offer the same care and love that I can and believe that Hailey needs.

Being sickly when she was younger, we were scared of what might happen to Hailey.

Her developmental delays were also a big factor in our struggles.

With the strength that God gives us, we manage to care for Hailey despite the challenges. “

Is Hailey attending therapies at present?

” No, Hailey has not undergone any therapy. It was always our desire to let her have therapies, but because we live in the province, with no available therapist, we’re just happy how she is developing on her own.

She loves watching musical programs on the television and dances with the music.

Because I’m a teacher, I try to make her learn by letting her scribble with crayons as much as she can and read to her every day, especially with picture books. “

Keep memories in a photobook

Share with us how she makes you and your family happy.

” Hailey is such an angel, she offers us unending expressions of love.
She kisses us and hugs almost everyone.

Her milestones give us the biggest delight. They make us appreciate the simple things in life.

When we are feeling gloomy, just looking at her smile brings back the sunshine in our day.”

Do you have any fears about her future? What do you hope that Hailey will achieve or will become someday?

I hope and pray that her older sisters will never get tired of to care for her and provide for her needs when I and my husband are gone.

As she grows up, I just wish that we can give her learning opportunities for her to fully develop her highest potential. I plan to enroll her in the Special Education program here in our town. I’m excited for her to start school, thus as early as now, I have actually talked to the teacher already.

If she cannot finish college I hope she will be given opportunities where she can be productive and independent, thus will be happy and fulfilled of the things that she can do.”

Any advice to parents especially moms on how to take care of a special child?

” My biggest advice is to give your child with special needs your never ending love. That’s all they need.

Accept their incapabilities and treat them as normal, though of course caring in a special way. Surely they will give back in ways that they know.

For new moms having a child with special needs – cheer up, he’s a blessing from God, a gift wrapped in a more colorful packaging.”

Children with special needs are gifts from God

Parenting a special child has its shares of struggles, but if these are considered challenges that you parents can overcome, then focusing on the growth and development of your child and being joyful of his milestones is no feat at all.

Like Emerald and her family  who has embraced Hailey and her slow development, every milestone reached even though delayed deserves appreciation and only then will our special child feel that she is loved unconditionally and nobody can take that away from her.

 

Are you a parent of a child with Down syndrome or any child with special needs? How is your experience in raising him or her? Please share your story with us.

 

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You are able to help special children, as well in Romblon, Philippines.

 

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Is music therapeutic? Know the benefits for your child with special needs.

With or without musical talent, your special child can benefit from music therapy.

I should know.

Pangga, my sister with Down syndrome who passed away a few years back, loved to sing. She had a good voice. She could follow the notes and the rhythm to the beat. 

Because Pangga never learned how to read, she memorized the songs’ lyrics just by listening over the radio, hearing other people sing or watching television. There were of course funny twists to the lyrics.

I would say, she taught herself to be jolly by singing. Music definitely was therapeutic for her.  Even at late nights when she couldn’t sleep ( she slept all day, that’s why ) she would belt out a song to the annoyance of whoever is awakened by her rendition. Funny eh?

Music therapy helps the special child focus and engage.

You, as parents of children with special needs,  know very well that
your kids struggle with focusing and learning to express themselves
clearly.

At the back of your mind, you may have this question, ” Is music therapeutic for my special child? ” Will it help him overcome his inadequacies?

What is music therapy? 

Music therapy is a creative arts therapy – it involves a process used by music therapists to help clients improve their physical and mental health.

Furthermore, music therapy encompasses the skillful use of music and musical elements by an accredited music therapist to help and improve not only the mental and physical health but also the  emotional and spiritual health of a person. 

 For our children with special needs, music therapy improves their focus,  engagement, communication, and even their mood.

Music therapy has been used way, way back, even in  biblical times to affect human emotion. David’s harp music soothed King Saul. Several cultures, like the ancient Greeks used music for healing.

Veterans Administration hospitals following World War II  recognized that music helps their patients, so it was acknowledged as a complementary healing practice. Musicians were continuously hired at the hospitals from then on.

In the hospital where I work, I’ve been seeing musicians, like guitarists or a violinist play their thing at a corner of our institution almost everyday. 

Benefits of music therapy

This video shows how Ryan Judd, a music therapist, teaches his clients, all with special needs, on how to focus, improve communication and a lot more.

Here are the many benefits of music therapy to children with special needs:

  • Music therapy motivates communication. Even if they are non-verbal or cannot express themselves well, the special kids’ facial expressions and their big smiles or laughter say it all. 
  • Music therapy makes the body move and may cause bouts of laughter. That means that the child enjoys the music and the encounter with the therapist. They learn to dance with the music.
  • Music empowers.The kids become proud and fulfilled that they are able to learn something to share.
  • Music therapy helps address academic concepts and speech goals. The kids learn more vocabulary and even how to connect with people around them.
  • Music therapy rewards communication. The kids learn how to express themselves.
  • It re-directs and engages. This is really helpful for kids who have meltdowns.
  • Music therapy inspires and leads to social connection. Again, these special kids enhance their capability to open up to people especially to their families.
  • It honors and enlivens a chid’s spirit. Kids are uplifted and become jolly because of music. Just like Pangga, my sister, who taught herself to be happy by singing to her heart’s content, anyday, anytime.
  • By playing the musical instruments, your child’s gross and fine motor skills are enhanced. 

The music therapist

Look for a music therapist who can teach your child how to engage, enjoy music and improve his well-being through music.

Let us learn from Benji, who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at  2 1/2 years and eventually learned how to communicate and able to cope with school, with a big help from his music therapists.

Characteristics of a good music therapist:

  •  Patient and sensitive
  •  Engaging
  • Loves music, can sing and  play a musical instrument
  • Understands the needs of his client 
  •  Loves being with children
  • Passionate and dedicated to his craft

Musical instruments-your special child’s favorite

Pangga loved the harmonica;  she enjoyed playing with it daily. You would see her smiling wide when she holds it and blows air to make music out of  this tiny but awesome musical instrument. 

The harmonica  lets the special child focus and be attentive while he is trying to produce music. The music per se, gives him joy and calms his nerves.

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It is so fulfiling for your special child to learn that it’s so easy to make his favorite musical instrument work and produce musical notes on his own. He can control it, make his music soft or loud, long or short, happy or sad.

Any musical instrument has the capacity to engage your special child. Observe your child while with his therapist, and see which is his favorite so you may decide to buy for him to play in your home. 

Begin or continue music therapy at home

As always, our homes are the first point of learning for our children with special needs.  Thus, music therapy should begin at home or continue if your child is with a music therapist already. 

It should be easy to do it. 

Fill your home with music. Always turn on your radio or television to musical channels. This way, your child and the whole family will always be in a jolly mood. With less stress and more smiles and laughter around. 

Or if you have a stereo or DVD player, it’s good to buy music like this to help with the anxiety of your special kid and to uplift his mood on a daily basis. 

For younger kids, the Nursery Rhymes  would encourage them to dance and improve their language skills. 

We participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which provides a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no added cost to you. When you buy, you are able to help in the Special Education of kids with special needs in Romblon, Philippines.”

Buy musical instruments and let the whole family play their choice, even your special kid.

Just like Pangga with her harmonica. Click the image to see the price.              Ukulele to help your special child focus

Maracas to improve your child's fine and gross motor skillstambourines for fine and gross motor skills

              

 

 

 

 

 

Your home will always be set in a joyful mood if your child with special needs learn to play even just one musical instrument. 

Just tapping on the piano randomly will bring out simple music that he will enjoy. Or blowing on the harmonica will surely let him have a wide smile and laughter.

When you constantly engage with your child and participate in his music, you will form strong bonding relationship and in time, his communication skills will be enhanced.

Enjoy music with your special kid. It’s never too late to start.

Most importantly, enrol him in a music therapy class and reap the awesome benefits.

 

Have you enrolled your special child in a music therapy class? If so, how is he doing? If not, go find the best music therapist in your area and enroll him now!

 

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Hearing impairment in children- signs and finding help

I love listening to music. It soothes my nerves. It makes me happy and want to dance.

I love talking to my family and friends. I can share with them my worries or my excitement.

I always look forward to talking with my parents back home, by phone or via messenger or face time.

I’m lucky because my sense of hearing is 100% okay.

I know most of us feel that way, too.

Our sense of hearing is really important in how we interact with others. Right?

Our world will be so quiet when we have hearing impairment or we just hear muffled sounds, perhaps. We will be missing lots of stuff around us that we’re supposed to enjoy.

 

Hearing impairment in children

 

Now, let’s talk about hearing impairment in children, what are the signs and how do we go as parents and caregivers in finding help?

CHLOE, a student who is now in high school, started kindergarten in a regular class. The teacher thought she was deaf and mute because she didn’t hear her talking at all.

Eventually after 2 years, she was moved to the Special Education ( SPED ) class in her school at age eight.

Soon after, the teacher heard her talk for the first time when she was bullied by a classmate. She was stammering and talking in phrases.

Teacher Bing started her with one-on-one lessons and eventually, she learned to talk in sentences and read on her own.

She was fitted with a hearing aid at this time, as well.

After 2 years in SPED, she was mainstreamed to Grade one and she continued to excel in school.

Last school year, she graduated with honors in Grade 9. She is a graceful dancer and an artist as well, she has a special talent in drawing. I guess all these talents were enhanced with early intervention of her hearing impairment.

Luckily for Chloe, the first teacher recognized right away the need for her to be guided and taught in the Special Education classroom so she was started on one-on-one lessons, thus she was able to catch up sooner.

Referral and assessment were also done so she was fitted with hearing aids which really boosted her learning and she was able to cope up well from then on.

What are the signs of hearing impairment?

Parents need to be very observant of their kids as they grow and develop, so they can be referred and have proper evaluation in a timely manner.

Look out for these signs of hearing impairment in your kids. They may look and grow physically like normal kids but have these unusual signs.

  • Seems too quiet as a baby, does not get startled with loud sounds nor gets soothed by soft sounds
  • Sleeps soundly in a noisy room
  • Delayed language development, like no babbling at 2 months or not speaking at age 3
  • Talks in phrases and cannot express themselves well
  • Have problems with hearing soft sounds
  • Often asks you to repeat what you are saying
  • Confused where sounds are coming from or cannot identify who is talking to them
  • Poor vocabulary, cannot understand even simple words at 11 to 12 months
  • Struggles to hear when several people are talking at the same time
  • Poor social interaction. Because he cannot communicate properly, kids don’t like to play with him. No friendships are formed. They may be bullied as well.
  • Teachers might think they are mute because they hardly speak at all when they start school.
  • No response to playing music, somebody talking to them, or to any sound at all.
  • Wants the television or radio louder than usual
  • Does not understand directions

Causes of hearing impairment in children

CONGENITAL– born with hearing impairment.

  • This could be genetic, meaning, somebody in the family has it, especially one or both parents.
  • It could be one of the characteristics of a genetic syndrome, like Down syndrome.
  • Other congenital causes include maternal illnesses during pregnancy like German measles, maternal diabetes, and toxemia during pregnancy ( mother has abnormally high blood pressure )
  • When the baby is born prematurely or had birth complications like difficult delivery leading to anoxia, or lack of oxygen, they can also have hearing impairment at birth.
  • A mother’s exposure to certain drugs during pregnancy

ACQUIRED- noted after birth or while your child is growing up

  • Ear infection– usually kids with on and off otitis media or infection of the middle ear and not treated right away or not at all.
  • Trauma affecting the ears or the brain, like accidents or head injury
  • Infections like meningitis, measles, encephalitis, chicken pox, mumps, or influenza
  • Noise exposure, for example if the family lives close to a factory with very loud noise

Finding help

As parents, when you suspect something is wrong with your child or if you observe one or some of the above signs, or he is not developing like kids his age, always ask for help right away.

Just follow your instinct and schedule assessments.

Timely evaluation and proper intervention really makes a big difference. These kids have the capacity to develop and catch up when helped early on, just like Chloe mentioned above.

Evaluation of an ear doctor or otolaryngologist is vital

Assessment is the very first important step.

Ask his Pediatrician or your family doctor to refer your child to an audiologist who will assess the severity of hearing loss and who will in turn refer him to an ENT specialist or otolaryngologist for proper evaluation and further surgical management, if needed. 

Audiologist and otolaryngologist assessment are vital for hearing impaired kids

A speech language pathologist is an important part of the team as well, who measures the specific speech and language skills of your child and recommends or provides remedial programs as needed.

  • For babies, the newborn hearing screening test is a quick and painless examination and is usually done after the baby is two days old.
  • Fitting of hearing aids, if needed  is set up by the audiologist after proper evaluation.
  • Cochlear implants for eligible kids are done after evaluation of an otolaryngologist.

Watch this video about IRELAND, who in 2017, was born with profound hearing loss and had cochlear implants before her first birthday, thus her family is so excited that she will hear them sing ” Happy Birthday ” for the first time.

  • Communication or music therapy augments the hearing aid or the cochlear implants because these do not restore their hearing 100% like normal kids.
  • Special Education could be started on one-on-one lessons, like what Chloe got, as discussed above.

Teacher Law of the Romblon East Central School SPED program had 7 hearing impaired students last school year, 4 of them were already mainstreamed in the regular elementary but he still follows them up after school and 3 were still under his care.

These kids started with SPED from 6 to 10 years old, they were assessed by audiologists and fitted with hearing aids, except one. When they started school, they were unable to write nor communicate properly.

Teacher Law gradually and patiently taught them so they are now literates and able to communicate with the help of sign language.

CJ is one of the hearing impaired students who started at SPED at 6 years old, and was mainstreamed to regular elementary after 3 years.

With SPED he learned how to talk and communicate with the aid of sign language. He is now in grade 10 and coping well in regular school. He was also a dancer while in the elementary, a skill that he learned because of early intervention.

  • Family support is likewise very important. Interact with your child as much as possible, extra care like cooing more, engaging more and of course, support in all interventions. Expose him to more sounds like music and talking to him at all times.
  • Sign language is another thing that is needed for your hearing impaired child. Let him learn how to communicate with sign language to avoid frustrations. Even with hearing aids or cochlear implants, they are not able to hear clearly like normal kids so, sign language is still very helpful for them. This can be learned in school or with private lessons.

So, again I want to emphasize that observations by parents are really important for our growing special kids so, if you feel that your child has hearing loss, which could be partial or total, schedule him for assessment as soon as possible.

When diagnosed really early, interventions are started and these kids can catch up with their language development and even excel in school, like Chloe and CJ and the other kids mentioned above.

Ireland, who had cochlear implants just before her first birthday, has already shown great improvement on the way she plays and it will continue on for her to develop her language just like normal kids.

As parents and caregivers, let us all be vigilant in the growing and development of our kids.

All newborns need to be submitted for the Neonatal hearing screening test and if there is something abnormal, then they will be followed up closely or intervened at the right time. We learned this from the experience of Ireland’s parents.

Hearing impaired kids have all the right to hear our conversations, especially the voice of their parents, the soft hustle of the wind, or the music of their favorite singers, so they can dance gracefully with the beat of the music.

Let us not wait until they start school and get bullied because they sound weird when talking.

After all, our world is happier with music and open communication.

 

Do you have a child with hearing impairment? Is it congenital or acquired? How did you help your child overcome his disability? Please share your journey with us. Post your comments below.

 

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Back to school checklist-what to buy and prepare for your child with special needs

School is just around the corner.  Or it has actually started in other parts of the world. 

I guess the kids have mixed feelings. 

Some maybe excited to see their teachers and classmates once again.

Others may feel a little bit sad that summer vacation will be done and they will be missing the late night sleep and sleeping in the following morning, the campings, the out of towns, the never ending video games, etc. 

For your child with special needs, they may have the same mixed feelings.

I guess they are more excited than the regular kids. I know they show more enthusiasm and elation.

They are more open to express their joy and eagerness to be back on track.

How about the first timers? Is your child with special needs starting school just this year? How does he or she feel about it?

Maybe a little bit nervous to be out there on his own? Or also excited to be with other kids his age?

Of course I’m talking about those kids who are verbal and could express themselves already.

For the non-verbal ones, I guess the parents are the ones who are either nervous or excited.

 

 

So, my dear parents, have you started buying the things that your child needs come school opening or you already have bought some essentials way back in June or July and just about to complete the list?

This post maybe a little bit late but I’m sure it’s still very helpful for that final look for school must-haves.

I have prepared a back to school checklist-what to buy and prepare for your child with special needs, so be ready to check out what you still need.

 

 

 

1. Adaptive stroller

  • If your child is still non-ambulatory or is walking but gets tired easily, this is really essential.
Getting ready for school, in adaptive stroller
Ready for first day of school
The school bus is here!
Riding the school bus is a breeze with the adaptive stroller with a transit  tie-down.
  • These strollers are usually what they sit on in the classroom as well, so choose properly with the help of his therapist or rehabilitation doctor.

Click here for some choices of adaptive strollers

 

2. School bag

  • This is very important as well. 
  • You have to consider a few things though. If your child has attended school the previous year, you might not need to buy a new one if his bag is still useful.
  •  I know kids always want something new, but if you feel his old one still looks okey, a little talk with your kid might be all you need to let him know that he doesn’t need a new one.
  • Anyway, if you’re ready to purchase a new one, keep some things in mind before buying. How big does your child need? Big enough to put his sweater or jacket in winter?
  •  Will his lunchbag plus some school essentials like his planner and pencil case fit in comfortably?
  • How heavy will it be with all the essentials in there? Think of his back for all the time that he will be carrying his bag. Is it a long walk from his classroom to the parking lot or to the bus stop?
  • Does he need just a back pack or a school bag with wheels?

Please see some choices below. Click the image to see the price.

Unicorn backpackBatman backpack Frozen backpackCars backpack

Click here for more choices of backpacks

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Lunch bag / kit

  • The size will depend on how many hours is your special child staying in school or the time of his class. 
  • If he is in school for just 2 hours, more or less, then he needs to bring in snacks only but if his school time is done just about lunch time maybe you need to pack lunch for him.
  • Consider packing a crunchy snack because chewing is great for reducing stress and a good concentration tool.
  • Of course during recess, your special child needs to eat something to reward him for a good day or to sustain his interest to learn his lessons.

  Look at these awesome lunch bags that your kid might love.  Click the image to see the price.

  Frozen lunchbag Pink lunchbag  

 

 

 

4. Water bottle

  • A 2 glass water bottle is also an essential part of his bag. He needs to be hydrated at all times so he will not be sluggish and will continue to be receptive of the day’s lessons.
  •  After a hectic  or an active day, your special child needs to drink his juice or plain water ( the healthier option ), so be sure to fill his water bottle to the brim!
  • Make sure to buy a BPA and PVC free water bottle which has leak proof lid with cap

Here are some awesome water bottles, click the image to see the price

Paw patrol water bottleSpiderman water bottleHearts water bottle

 

 

 

5. Pencil case

  • Choose something that is spacious enough to fit in his pencils, markers, and sharpeners.
  • Your special child will love opening and using a pencil case with designs that he loves like animal prints or his favorite cartoon character.
  • Having a pencil case will teach your special child to organize his stuff and put them back properly to where they belong. This develops in him responsibility. 

  Here are some choices. Click the image to see the price.

Superhero pencil caseMinnie mouse pencil casePaw patrol pencil case

 

 

 

6. Pencils, markers, and crayons

  • Buy as many as you can.
  • Your special child may just be starting to scribble or just beginning  to learn how to hold a pencil, but the more choices he has, the more chances of getting him excited to do his part in learning how to write.
  • If possible, buy the big grip pencils and crayons or markers.

 Here are some choices. Click on the image to see the price.

        Emoji pencils     Crayola markersJumbo crayons

 

 

 

  • You can also buy some additives that will be useful for your special child such as these  pencil grips for perfect grip for him to be inspired to write or scribble as much as he can.
  • These are useful even if the pencil is small.

Click the image to see the price ( pencil grips and erasers )

Pencil gripsEmoji erasers

 

 

 

  • Your child’s teacher or school might have these items provided, but it is still best to buy so your child will have something to use at home for his homework or just for practice.  

7. Notebooks

  • Buy those with beautiful covers that your child with special needs would love to open time and again. Designs that would let him smile and giggle and get him inspired to write down because his favorie animal or cartoon character is in the cover.
  • Those with lines are the most essential ones so your child will learn how to write with proper alignment. If possible choose notebooks with three lines, so he will be guided how to write big and small letters properly.
  • These colorful notebooks will delight your special kids.

  Click the image to see the price.

Tiger notebook              Unicorn notebook

More choices here.

 

 

8. School shoes ( and socks )

  • Find shoes that are most comfortable on his feet. You would not want your kid to be coming home limping with sore ankles because his shoes is too tight that he develops a blister after a day’s wear.
  • They should  just be the right size so your child can run or walk without difficulty while playing in the playground or doing tag with his friends and classmates.
  • Socks that will allow his feet to breathe  properly even in winter are a must. Buy socks that he can wear depending  on  the weather outside.

   Click the image to see the price for some choices of  girls’ and boys’ sneakers/ shoes.

Blue sneakers   Skechers sneakers    Reebook girl's shoesGirls' black shoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Sweaters/ Pull overs

  • Always let your child wear a sweater or a pull over on top of his shirt  because it will usually be cold outside once school starts or put it in his bag if it is warm, so he can wear it if the weather changes.
  • This is really important if your special one still cannot express his feelings.
  • Again, sweaters with awesome designs will become a favorite of your kid. Also match the color of his sneakers with his sweater. 

Click the image to see the price of the awesome sweater  your special one will love to wear on the first day of school.

Yellow cardigan   3 D Floral sweaterRoblox sweater

 

 

 

10. Clothes and accessories

  • If there is no uniform in the school that your child goes to, you may need to buy a few set of clothes especially those that he can wear and show off on the first day or week of school. 
  • He will always be proud showing off to his teacher and classmates a blouse or shirt with his all-time favorite cartoon character  or a shirt which is his favorite color.

Click the image to see the price.

Just a girl shirt   Long sleeve boy's shirt  Pink shirtWhite shirts

Click here for more choices of clothes for your child with special needs

Click here for more choices of boys’ outfits

Click here for more choices of girls’ outfits

  • Your little girl’s hair will be pretty either tied or with an awesome bow.

Click the image to see the price.

    Goody hair tiesHair bows

 

 

 

  • A cute beannie hat ( and mitts ) for your little boy or  girl that can match his or her backpack and shirt will be useful to keep his or her  head safe from some cold or draft at the start of fall.

Click the image to see the price.

                  Starwars beannie and mittsFrozen beannie and mitts

 

 

 

Weighted vests,  ( also works like weighted blankets ), like these below would be very helpful as well if your child has a hard time focusing in school. When worn, it relaxes the child and allays his anxiety.

11. Calming toy or pillow

  • Let him bring to school his favorite toy or pillow for calming effect especially if it is his first time to attend school. This will really be helpful to allay his fears and anxiety. 
  • You can allow him to bring it to school on the first day or week or the whole school year whichever he prefers. 
  • Your special child will be more focused with his school work if he has these handy.

If you are planning to buy, read some suggestions here.

  Click the image to see the price of the calming pillows

Calming pillows
“We participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which provides a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no added cost to you. When you buy, you are able to help in the Special Education of kids with special needs in Romblon, Philippines.”

Are you ready for school?

There you go, my dear parents, have you looked into the list of school essentials that your little one needs for his first day of  school? Did I forget anything? Hope not.

Anyway, most of the time, kids want to show off to their classmates or teachers their new backpacks, new clothes, new pencil case, etc, so I suggest buy him something new , even though some are recycled from last year or the previous years or maybe hand me downs from older siblings or cousins.

 I remember when my son was in the elementary, even though we just buy his schoolbag from the thrift store, he was so excited to show off his “new” backpack to his friends and he was proud to show off how many pockets it contains, the awesome design, etc. 

I guess even our special kids would love to show off their stuff to his teachers and classmates, so as parents, let us try to be aware that this is something that our kids get excited about school.

We don’t want him to hate his school bag or lunch bag that would ruin his enthusiasm to go to school everyday.

There’s this excitement or some fears on the first day of school that something ” new ”  especially if it’s his favorite toy or marker or shoes or top or bag and if his classmate or friend also likes it, it will be a big factor for your special child to have a reason each day to get excited to come back to school everyday.

Let the start of school be something that your special one will look forward to with an AWESOME school essential.

Happy shopping!

 

We have an advertising relationship with the stores/ business  we link in this post. We'll earn a commission when you shop/ click  through our link with no added cost to you.

 

What is your special child’s favorite cartoon character that he wants for his backpack?  Have you bought or prepared all the essentials for his school this year?

As parents, are you excited that your special one is up to another school year of learning and discovering new things?

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Toys special needs children will love…. recommended by experts

Like normal kids, our children with special needs love to have fun.

Hearing their giggles and laughter uplifts us- parents, caregivers, and even their teachers.

Playing, aside from giving them fun, promotes the enhancement of social skills and development of their imagination and creativity, as well as improvement of their fine and gross motor skills.

More so, learning the basic concepts like colors, shapes and numbers would be benefits from the right toys.


Choosing the best toys special needs children will love and recommended by therapists, should be top in our minds-parents, caregivers, and teachers, when we plan to buy them for our kids.

“We participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which provides a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no added cost to you. When you buy, you are able to help in the Special Education of kids with special needs in Romblon, Philippines.”

Toys that promote learning

I recently read a post from a behavior analyst who said that her daily life consists of treating children with autism spectrum disorders and when she gets home, she implements similar practices with her own children. She uses the same toys for the same reasons.

She believes that all kids want to have fun while they are learning.

Thus, parents need to find developmentally appropriate toys for their kids, whether special or not, to create opportunities for learning while playing.

For our special kids though, because they have delayed mental development, we have to choose toys which are recommended below their chronological age.

We have to consider their mental development. For example, a 10-year-old child with Down syndrome with a mental age of 4-5 years, would enjoy playing a toy for a 5-year old, because a toy for a 10-year-old might be too advanced for him. Toys about numbers for a 5-year old would be identification only of the numbers, or simple counting, but toys for a 10-year-old would be involved with addition, subtraction, or easy multiplication and division.

Here are some toys that experts suggest

1.Melissa & Doug K’s Kids Match and Build Soft BLOCKS SET ( click the image to see the price )

 

Block set develops imagination and motor skills

  • These blocks are washable, soft and lightweight, thus ideal for babies, toddlers and older kids with special needs, for easy manipulation and lifting.
  • Kids will learn to identify numbers, animals, and shapes.
  • Skills that they develop include sensory, fine motor, logical, creative, linguistic, communication, and self-esteem.

 

2. PUZZLES ( click the image to see the price )

 

Big puzzles for easy grip

  • Our special kids need big puzzles which are extra thick and with large knobs for easier grip.
  • These puzzles enhance their imagination and creativity.
  • Because of delayed mental development, our special kids need to play with simple puzzles so their minds can solve easy problems of identifying shapes and images.
  • Playing with puzzles also develop their fine motor skills, socialization and hand-eye coordination.

 

3. SPEAK TO ME ( click the image to see the price )

Magic laptop promotes verbal interaction and reading and imagination.

  • For kids with autism, toys that promote interaction like this laptop, that encourages a verbal reply when they push a button, are suitable.
  • Various categories include letters, numbers, farm animals and musical instruments.
  • The games within also enhances imagination, creativity and develops intelligence.

 

Toys that calm anxiety and improve behavior

Children with emotional and behavioral disorders like ADHD, need to balance fun and calm their anxiety while playing or just sitting down, maybe in a doctor’s office waiting impatiently for his turn.

Usually, they thrive on holding on to something familiar to them like a favorite toy or a calming thing like a pillow.

 

1. SENSORY RING and FIDGET TOY ( Click the image to see the price )

Sensory rings bring relaxation and calmness

  • These soft, flexible rings and rubber spikes reduce stress and anxiety by providing tactile stimulation to calm a racing mind and to bring restless hands busy with something, while doing writing in school or at home.
  • If your kids have short attention span, these bracelets sensory toys bring focus, attention and relaxation, so they are more attentive in school or even at home while doing homework.

 

2. STRETCHY DINO WRAP ( Click here to see the  price )

  • This wrap gets your special child to pretend to be little T-rex roaming around the house.
  • It is perfect for play, pretend, movement, compression and sensory integration.
  • Adults need to supervise the kid to dress up and tuck their hands into the sewn in pockets to wrap themselves snugly inside the stretchy cape.
  • It helps tactile defensive kids and sensory seekers.
  • Attention is sustained for a longer time because the kids enjoy pretend play a lot.

 

3. SENSATIONAL TEXTURED CIRCLE FIDGETS ( Click here to see the price )

  • They have tactile surfaces on each side for fidgeting and sensory exploration.
  • Kids can trace their fingers over the raised circles on one side and feel the fine bristles on the other side.
  • They could also be put on the floor where kids can tickle their feet with the bumps and the bristles.

Toys that Improve Kids’ Fine and Gross Motor Skills

1. GYMNIC HOP BALL ( click the image to see the price )

Improvement of Motor skills plus fun=Gymnic hop balls

  • These hop balls are made of heavy-duty yet soft vinyl latex-free material for long-lasting use.
  • Inflation by a hand or foot pump needs to be done by grown-ups.
  • They are great for exercise indoors and outdoors on smooth surfaces.
  • Our special kids will develop their body coordination, balance, and lymph circulation .
  • They come with a hand grip safety handle.

 

2. MAGNETIC NUMBER MAZE ( click the image to see the price )

Maze develops fine motor skills and number identification

  • Your special child will enjoy and develop fine motor skills as he guides little red balls with a magnetic pole.
  • It develops small muscles in the child’s hand to be able to hold the pencil properly for better writing skills.
  • This is also a learning tool for numbers  and counting.
  • Hand-eye coordination is also developed as the child guides the balls.

 

3. CRASH PAD ( click the image to see the price )

Crash pad lets kids enjoy jumping and develop gross motor skills

  • It is filled with a long lasting foam with heavy duty stitching, thus a  safe place for special kids to calm down and relax by sitting or lying down.
  • Children will enjoy crashing, jumping, exploring or cuddling, thus developing their gross motor skills and balance.
  • Suitable for kids up to 150 pounds

 

Parents and caregivers must play with their kids

Your presence in your special child’s activities will help him a lot to improve his social and cognitive skills.

Deep trust in you will be developed as well, as you regularly play with your special child.

Likewise, while playing with him, you are able to observe your child up close on how he interacts and how fast he is learning.

Remember, playing is the best form of bonding for you and your kid.

Playtime with a partner needs to be encouraged

There are various benefits if your special child is allowed to play with you and others.

As much as possible, expose your child to a playmate to promote engagement and interaction.

Various studies recently have shown that interactive experiences actually change the physical structure of the brain.

“We now have evidence from neuro-imaging studies (e.g., MRI, PET, and SPECT scans) that new neuro-pathways are created and connections among neurons are enhanced when the brain is stimulated,” explains Dr. Ron Savage, Executive Vice President of the North American Brain Injury Society and expert on neuro-developmental disabilities.

Based on these studies, special needs products and toys are made to improve motor skills, mobility, sensory processing and communication skills.

These specialized items can help children enhance their basic abilities while also soothing their anxiety and improving behavior.

Playtime provides both fun and opportunity for learning

Play therefore, is the best stimulation for children, especially when children are enjoying their toys and games, and parents and caregivers are devoted to helping them learn.

Studies have proven that loving relationships, meaningful toys, and time engaging in play together are the best ways to open avenues for our special kids to grow up and be the best that they can be.

So my dear parents and caregivers, please choose wisely what toys your child with special needs will enjoy and learn from.

It will be remarkable to witness the joy of your child while playing and in turn, his brain is stimulated to develop with added neurons for more wisdom.

 

How do you choose toys for your special child? Do you observe that your kid learns while having fun? What is his favorite toy?

 

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Help for children with learning disabilities…the role of parents and teachers

Every parent wants the best for their kids. Thus, we usually start teaching our kids at home.

Do you agree when they say ” Parents are the best teachers of their kids?”

I do! Our kids learn almost everything from us the first time around. But of course, we cannot underestimate the help that teachers do in regular school and the Special Education setting.

It is really vital that even if our kids are already in school, we parents need to follow up with them when they get home. Collaboration with their teachers play a very important role on how our kids sharpen their minds.

More so with our special kids, we need to pay more attention to them and offer lots of help for our children with learning disabilities. We cannot overemphasize the role of parents and teachers in this regard.

What are the signs of learning disability?

At a certain point in a child’s life with learning disability, his parents or the teachers notice something is not right.

It is very important that these kids need to be assessed as soon as possible so you can seek for help right away for your children.

By doing so, your child can be helped the soonest so he can overcome or improve his disability and reach his fullest potential.

Signs of learning disability are usually subtle and hard to recognize. These are mostly seen when the child starts school or as they reach school age.

Let us first define what learning disability is. In Wikipedia, it is described as a classification that includes several areas of functioning in which somebody has a difficulty learning in the usual manner.

These kids have difficulty doing specific types of skills or completing tasks if left to figure things out by themselves or with typical conventional ways of teaching them.

Thus, they have struggles to learn how to read, write, do math, solve problems, recall and organize information by themselves or if taught just like other kids of their age.

If properly assessed and classified accordingly from mild to severe, specific interventions can be planned for these special children by their teachers and psychologists, of course with the support of their parents.

What causes a learning disability?

You may ask, ” How did this happen? Why is my child struggling? I have been trying my best to teach him at home everyday, but still he seems not learning.” 

This is really important. It’s not your fault. Please keep this in mind. 

Learning disability is a neurological disorder, which means that in these children, it results from a difference on how their brains are “wired.”

They usually don’t have physical deformities and they maybe as smart or could be smarter than kids their age, but just present with difficulties in learning specific areas of acquiring knowledge.

Children with learning disabilities can be famous and successful!

My dear parents, don’t lose hope.

Do you know that some accomplished people had some forms of learning disability but still, they thrived?

Albert Einstein for example, learned how to read when he was already nine.

Take note! 

When kids have learning disability, they cannot be cured or fixed. It is a a life-long struggle for them. But not a hindrance to succeed.

Examples are  Walt Disney, General George Patton, and Vice President Nelson Rockefellerwho had difficulty reading all their lives.

Other famous people  like Alexander Graham Bell and Winston Churchill, as well,  had some forms of learning disability, but still they were able to rise above their condition.

Goldie Hawn, the famous actress, had dyslexia and some reading comprehension problems, but with the support of her parents and teachers, she was able to overcome these obstacles and become successful in the movie industry.

Be very supportive of your child with learning disability. 

Cooperate with the teachers and other caregivers and for sure, your child can dance in the rain just like their peers, or can even become more successful than them.

Some important facts

  • Learning disabilities usually run in families.
  • The most common forms are difficulties with reading and language skills, of which 80% of these kids have some forms of reading problems.
  • Children with learning disabilities usually look normal with no physical deformities, thus, they should not be confused with children who have autism, intellectual disability, deafness, blindness, and behavioral disorders.
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorders might also be present in these kids but they are two separate entities.

Positive Reinforcement

Parents need to understand that their kids with learning disability have specific strengths and weaknesses that they need to recognize so special interventions can be planned and put into place.

But first things first.

You as parents must recognize that your special child needs care, support and encouragement.

Don’t look at his disability but focus on giving him unconditional love and remember there is always help out there.

You need to cooperate with teachers and the school system for your kids to be helped.

Here are some helpful tips on how you can help your child with learning disability. 

Observe him at home and share information with his teacher. Also, ask his teacher how he learns best at school, so you can apply some specific methods at home for follow up.

Partner with your child’s teacher to help your child.

  • Look at areas where your child excels or is good at and encourage him to give more attention on that. Focus on his strengths, not on his weaknesses. Even if he has struggles with reading, but he is good in music, let him join the school band or let him join singing competitions. Be there for these activities and let him know that you appreciate his efforts. 
  • Recognize how your special child learns well. Is he a visual learner? An auditory learner , or a kinesthetic learner? Assist your child at home with schoolwork by supporting his style, so it will not be much of a struggle for him.
  • For visual learners, let him read more books, look at diagrams, use the computer, flashcards and other visual aids. Let him take detailed notes in class and offer him to read them again and again.
  • For auditory learners, read out notes loud and let him memorize stuff by speaking them. Let him record lectures so he can listen to them later. Encourage him to join study groups where they can discuss their lessons.
  • For kinesthetic learners, let him study with music in the background. Get him hands on and let him do experiments; also,  let him join field trips. Encourage role playing and model-buliding. You can also let him join study groups with small frequent breaks.

Let us meet two kids with learning disabilities

Ally is 9 years old with mild learning disability in written expression. She can cope with the activities in the general education classroom setting; her cognition, reading and comprehension are all good. Her struggles though, are putting her ideas into writing. Ms Rica, her Special Education teacher,  attends to her for 30 minutes twice a week and has been providing her with different  repetitive activities and the use of manipulative materials to help her improve.

Raven on the other hand, is 10 years old and with moderate to severe learning disability. He attended Kindergarten for 2 years. He has short retention skills, poor cognition and comprehension, and also struggles with his speech. Areas that he find difficulty in learning are reading, writing and math. Ms Rica attends to his needs half an hour daily for the 3 subjects.

Both started school at 5 years old,  where the pre-school teachers noted developmental delay. At 6 years old, they had assessments with the Developmental Pediatrician and were diagnosed with learning disability.

Ally and Raven just finished grade 2 and will be in grade 3 this coming school year. Both of them are good in drawing though and both are visual learners.

With early intervention in school, their teachers and their parents hopefully will see them able to cope with their disabilities and become  the best version of themselves someday.

Be optimistic that your child can rise above the challenges

Having a child with learning disability maybe a bit of a challenge for our dear parents but with the help of our Special Education teachers, your kids will, in no time learn the ropes of keeping up with learning the basics and can live productively and independently.

There is definitely help for children with learning disabilities.

Remember, your child has strengths that they can focus on more, while taking the time to hurdle their specific learning disabillity and with your support as loving parents and the guidance of their teachers, they will be fine and for sure, will eventually be able to see light at the end of the tunnel.

 

Does your child have a learning disability? As a parent, do you collaborate with his Special Education teacher? How do you help him at home?

If you are a Special Education teacher, please share with our readers how you help your students with learning disability.

Post your comments below.

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How to prepare for camping with a special child- summer escapade galore!!

Now that school is almost over and summer has begun, what better way to relax but to go camping!

Plan and prepare what to bring so nothing is missed and everybody can enjoy and have fun.

But wait, can you bring your special child with the whole family?

Of course, he may have special needs but he has the right to enjoy and spend time with everybody.

This will be a special bonding time for everyone – to relax, unwind, breathe some fresh air and enjoy nature.

Let’s go and delve on how to prepare for camping with a special child in tow.

I promise you, it will be a summer escapade galore!

Where to go

Months or weeks in advance, you need to plan where the family wants to go and reserve or book the place.

I assume you did this already. Did you book a cabin or a tent area? Or are you bringing your camper? Either way, all three are fun places to stay.

Is your site somewhere close, like half an hour ride or maybe up to 2 hours is good. But some families love to go long driving, like a 3-4 hour or more travel, which might be uncomfortable though for the kids, especially your special one.

You can actually make a long trip comfy by breaking it into shorter trips. How do you do that?

Rest in between, like after an hour or two, look for a park with a picnic table or a grocery store with some benches outside where you can rest or maybe eat your snacks or lunch. Even a 30-45 minute rest would give everyone a space to relax and a time to stretch and fill the hungry tummy.

Then, off you go again for another ride. Make sure that you let Dad or whoever is driving know that you need to stop every after 1-2 hours of driving to recharge.

Plan your activities and meal preparation

Planning is key to success, comfort, and fun in camping.

If you are camping with your extended family or friends, like what we do all the time, for sure there maybe a minimum of 4-5 families or around 16-25 people.

For a big group like this, it will be surely fun and the most important thing is to decide how you will prepare your meals. For our group, we usually assign which family prepares this or that meal, so we prepare and cook only once or twice for that weekend get away. On the first day though, that is on check in day, each family brings packed lunch or dinner, so we don’t worry what to eat when we get to the site and we can focus on pitching our tents or preparing for the first night.

That said, you know what food and cooking utensils to bring when you have planned your menu for your assigned day and specific meal. For example, you don’t need to bring eggs when you are assigned to prepare dinner on a Saturday.

Swimming is an all-time favorite activity for kids including your special one. When booking for a camp, always look if the site has a swimming pool or a suitable lake. Be sure to be with your kids at all times during these activities for safety reasons.

Outdoor games like badminton, frisbee or parlor games would be fun as well for the whole family. Be sure to bring those rackets and shuttlecocks, frisbee flying disks and materials for parlor games like sacks, big hankies, empty bottles, etc.

What to bring

It is best to make a list of what to bring so you will not forget anything or at least you will be able to bring the most essential things that you need.

I remember in one of our tent campings, my husband forgot to bring our sleeping bags, it’s good that my brother’s family were in their camper with heating, so they let us use their sleeping bags.

Here is a list of what you will need:

1. Shelter and sleeping needs

  • Tent- make sure that what you have from years before is still usable and clean, otherwise, you have to buy again. Does it fit everybody or do you need an additional tent if everybody will not be accommodated? If you want to purchase new one, you can buy at AMAZON by clicking here.
  • Sleeping mattress or airbed- don’t forget to bring the pump to put some air
  • Sleeping bag – it is usually cold late at night and early morning, so this is really important; suitable for one to 3 -persons depending on the number of family members; lots of choices at AMAZON.
  • Pillows
  • Extra blankets- the regular ones that you can use at daytime when you want to have a nap or just want to lie down
  • Weighted blanket- if you have one, bring it!
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2. Cooking materials

  • Stove
  • Match or a lighter
  • Propane
  • Kettle, frying pan, rice cooker – you have to know what food are you cooking so you know what to bring
  • Laddle
  • Chopping board

3. Eating utensils

  • Disposable plates, spoons and forks, glasses
  • Serving spoons
  • Napkins

4. Clean up materials including stuff for bathing and swimming

  • Towels
  • Tissue paper
  • Boxed tissue
  • Toiletries-including soap, body wash, body scrub or sponge, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, dental floss
  • Bathing suit
  • Sunblock
  • Make-up, lipstick, deodorants
  • Diapers ( click to buy ) for small kids or even for your non-toilet trained special one

5. Food and Water ( think of your assigned meal plan so you don’t miss anything )

  • Bottled water
  • Water for cooking in a large container
  • Rice
  • Cooler with ice and hot dogs, pre-cooked food
  • Fruits
  • Snacks-cookies, chips, nuts
  • Drinks, including milk for young kids and your special one
  • Coffee or chocolate for grown-ups
  • Bread
  • Travel food in a separate bag for long trips- usually cookies, nuts, including water
  • Pre-packed lunch or dinner depending on your check-in time so you can concentrate on putting up your tent upon arrival
  • Other food- meat, fish, dried food such as beans, eggs, vegetables, spices, salt, marshmallow, etc

6. Clothes

  • Sweaters, jackets, toque, scarves, mitts- Be prepared for cold nights and on early mornings
  • Jogging pants- especially because there could be mosquitoes or ticks
  • Jammies, preferably long-sleeve tops
  • Socks
  • Shorts and light-colored or white shirts for daytime use when it’s usually hot
  • Underwears
  • Caps or hats

7. Other Essentials

  • Flashlight
  • Light for the tent and for your dining table
  • Camp chairs
  • Alcohol or disinfectant
  • Sunblock
  • Insect Repellant
  • Coins- some showers need coins to function
  • Hanging ropes for wet towels and clothes
  • Books and board games – reading to your special one can still continue outside or inside your
  • Camera or phone
  • House keys
  • Travel diary if you are fond of recording your experiences
  • CD’s to entertain you while traveling for long trips
  • Slippers
  • Balls, Badminton sets, freebies
  • Small toys for your special child

What do you do during camping?

When you have small kids and a special child with you, fun activities need to be planned so they don’t get bored.

Activities that kids enjoy are swimming, outdoor sports like biking, ball games, badminton, etc.

Hiking could also be fun if your special child can walk by himself. Let him stroll at the start then maybe carry him later in your back if he gets tired. Then plan to go back to your tent at this point, otherwise your back will get sore carrying him for a very long walk.

As you progress with your hike, show your special child the plants, flowers, trees, or animals around you and this could be an educational experience for him as well.

Campfire and barbecuing or grilling hot dogs and marshmallows are things that they also love. This is a special time for families and friends to bond by sharing experiences or jokes around a campfire, or sharing music by singing in a guitar accompaniment, if your family is musically-inclined.

If possible, tell your kids to limit the use of social media ( phones, laptops, DVDs, etc ) and instead encourage them to play active games and interact with family especially siblings and cousins their age.

After the camping, what?

Be sure to ask your older kids to help you out with folding the tent and keeping all the things that you need to bring home.

Make your trip back home fun by playing music and singing while traveling. If you think your special child cannot handle the noise, put on him an earphone.

You can also play games in your car, like the ” I spy ” game where you take turns in saying something that you see around, for example, a red flower, and let the other family members guess where it is.

When you are already close to where you live, you can eat out in a restaurant so you don’t have to prepare another meal at home because by then you will be very tired.

Then, putting away stuff is another hurdle to do. Try to keep all things in their proper places so when you need them again in your next camping trip, you know where to look for them.

Inspect all your stuff and clothing to make sure that you don’t have ticks with you.

Remember, that weekend with your family including your special one is a precious event. He will always cherish those times with you. Keep memories alive through pictures and videos.

Lastly, if possible, allot a day for rest and to put all stuff in proper places before you go back to work , so productivity in your workplace is not affected.

Till next camping!

 

Do you and your family love camping? Do you always bring your child with special needs? Not that hard, right? Please share your experiences with us.

 

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The benefits of reading to your special child… making learning a fun experience

Kids will be kids. They enjoy time with their parents and caregivers. They will always feel safe when they are around with their beloved mom and dad, grandparent, aunt or uncle, or their nanny.

What a better way to spend time together with your special child than reading to them.

Exploring books together with  your special kid is one of the best form of parental-child bonding, maybe second to playing with them.

 

What are the benefits of reading to your special child?

Even if your special child has  delayed mental development, he will still enjoy sitting down with you or lying down in the bed with you.

He will always tend to snuggle or hug you while listening to your story-telling.

So aside from just being happy together, there are lots of positive output that reading to your child will bring:

  • A strong bond is developed between you and your special child.
  • Your child will have  a sense of security when he is  there in the bed or chair  with you.
  • You are both able to explore the world, your town, province or country.
  • He gradually forms a deep trust in you.
  • He learns to appreciate that you are trying to help him improve or overcome his incapacities.
  • Your special child will slowly increase his vocabulary.
  • He gradually improves his language skills.
  • His mental capability will be boosted.
  • You are opening your child’s awareness to his surroundings, thus he learns coping skills.
  • You are helping your child’s teacher in a way because  your kid will be more receptive with lessons in school.
  • Reading will develop your child’s imagination and creativity.
  • He will learn to relax and quiet his mind during reading sessions with you.

Make reading together a habit

We learn easily when we do things again and again. Your child with special needs will truly benefit from you when you make reading to him a habit.

Rather than make your child watch nursery rhymes on television or you tube  day after day, develop the habit of reading to him instead at bedtime or just anytime that you feel he is receptive to listen to your storytellling.

Making reading to him a daily thing will surely increase his trust in you and he will always look forward to that special time together.

Gradually, you are increasing his vocabulary and his understanding of his environment.

This special time will also make you feel that you are giving him a special part of you.

“We participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which provides a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no added cost to you. When you buy, you are able to help in the Special Education of kids with special needs in Romblon, Philippines.”

Enjoy reading with your child

Read aloud to your child.

Act out and speak out like the characters in the book that you are reading. If you are reading a dialogue for an old lady, let your voice be slow and quivering. If you are reading a man’s dialogue, speak in a deep tone.

You can even mimick some animals’ sounds. Surely your child will giggle and enjoy hearing your story.

He will always look forward to reading with you everyday.

You yourself will feel very happy and at peace after these sessions.  Your child’s laughter will wash away all the worries or stresses that you maybe experiencing at that moment.

Incorporate the assignments from school in your reading sessions

During homework time, start by reading to your child a good story book. This will develop his enthusiasm in doing his assignment.

Answering questions or completing his tasks that his teacher sent home will be a breeze if his brain is programmed to respond positively.

Encourage him to answer his homework by himself.  Let him ask you questions as well or let him know that you can help him if he cannot answer the questions.

Guide him if you can, instead of giving him all the answers. This way, you are encouraging him to think and decide for himself what is the best answer.

His teacher will be very appreciative learning that you are there to help her encourage your child to learn each day.

Read various topics

To increase your special child’s vocabulary and develop his language skills, try to read a variety of topics from animals, cartoon characters, plants, school, home, family, food, etc.

After reading, talk about the story that you just read.

Ask him questions like, ” What part of the story did you like most? “, “Who is your favorite character? “, or ” What did you learn from the story?”

Encourage him to ask questions to you as well. This will also gauge if he understood the topic or not.

An inquisitive mind is open to more learning.

Here are some awesome books for your special one.

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Keep reading time short and sweet

A special child will have limited attention span, so plan to read short stories. Their intellectual capacities are also restricted, so they lose interest easily.

You might need to speak very slowly too, so he can understand every word and appreciate the story.

Don’t be upset when your child doesn’t decipher everything that you read to him. Keep in mind that he has delayed mental capabilities, so his brain is slow to digest.

Just appreciate that he enjoys time with you and he is learning slowly. 

Plan on going to the library regularly

A trip to the library on a weekend or right after school on a certain day is something that you can develop with your special child.

This will teach him the value of reading regularly. Likewise, he will be exposed to different books and topics.

Let him choose what he wants you to read to him. This way, you will encourage him to explore.

Start with small books or short stories.

Picture books are awesome for small kids to begin with.

Introduce reading to your special child from birth

Reading to your newborn or a few months old special baby can certainly give benefits both to you and him.

You will develop a special bond right away aside from his feeding schedules.

His brain will be exposed very early to this stimulating activity and as he grows and develops, reading will aid  in forming his language skills early on.

Your voice will soothe him to let him sleep good at night.

Developing that good habit of reading everyday will surely help him overcome his mental delay sooner because his brain will be rewired early.

As your child grows older, he would be choosing  his favorite topic, author, or book.

All these because you have started to expose him early and he has developed that habit of reading ( or listening if he has not learned reading by himself ).

I hope I have inspired you, dear mom and dad to start reading to your special child if you have not started.

Wishing you and your child happy reading!

Check out my favourite AMAZON picks  for babies here. 

 

When did you start reading to your special child?  Are you reading to him everyday?

What is his favorite book about? Please share your story with us.

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